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Lago Maggiore

Film by by Christian Wilhelm

Picturesque and rich in tradition little villages, charming landscapes where art and local tradition melt together and where nature is always the undisputed protagonist. This is only a little part of what Lake Maggiore can offer you. This destination will touch your soul and your memory.


Also known as Verbano, from the celtic words “Ver“(big) and “Benn” (container), Lake Maggiore is the second bigger glacial lake in Italy, after Garda Lake, follows the Lake Como and the Lake Iseo.
After having been created by glaciers in the quaternary age, today Lake Maggiore is fed by Toce and Ticino rivers. It is 66 kilometers long from Switzerland to Italy, northwards framed by the unique and breathtaking landscape of the Alps.
In the northern swiss side you can visit the towns of Locarno and Ascona, while in the southern italian side (with the provinces of Varese, Novara and Verbania) don’t miss a visit to Intra and Pallanza. Both piemont side of Lake Maggiore, from Arona to Stresa and from Baveno to Verbania, and Lombard one (visit the “Rocca di Angera” and the “Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso”) are rich in architectural and natural points of interest.
Luino is the most relevant town of the east side. Its important Wednesday market (instituted by Charles V in 1541) full of stands proposing any kind of local products attracts tourists in any period of the year. 


Boat is certainly the better and fastest means of transport. Thanks to the company “Navigazione del Lago Maggiore” it is possible to reach by water almost any site (included italian and swiss islands).
And it is right by boat that the tourist can visit the suggestive Isole Borromee:
the original and picturesque “Isola dei Pescatori” , “Isola Madre” characterized by its famous exotic garden and “Isola Bella” shaped into an imaginary naval vessel by Charles III Borromeo’s architectural creative spirit. Going northway by land, in the Swiss side of the lake, many cultural events (Locarno International Film Festival, music events and more) will catch the attention of the most intellectual tourists.
The itinerary on Lake Maggiore proceed towards the imposing valleys surrounding the coast: “Val d’ Ossola”, “Val Formazza”, “Val Grande” and “Val Vigezzo”. 


As a transport link between Italy and Switzerland and with its direct access to the Alps Lake Maggiore has always played an important and strategic role. In the middle of XV century Lake Maggiore became fief of Milan Borromeo family; they used it as a resort.
 Between XVIII and XIX century noble families from Milan and Novara started spending their holidays and rest time in Lake Maggiore.
That was the period of the building of magnificent villas characterized by beautiful and great gardens (Villa Taranto and Villa Pallavicino on Stresa lakeside and the impressive Villa San Remigio on Castagnola promontory in Pallanza). 


Lake Maggiore offers a wide range of cultural events. Springtime flower show taking place in March in Verbania and Cannero Riviera where camelias (floral symbol of the lake) are the undisputed protagonists is suddenly followed by the event “Camelie in Locarno” Springtime is also the period in which “le settimane musicali” in Stresa and Lake Maggiore take place. During these weeks you can hear classical music concerts in the most fascinating corners of the lake – Another internationally relevant music event taking place between the last June and the first July weekends in Ascona is the New Orleans Jazz Festival where blues and classical jazz artists amazingly perform The famous and free Lake Maggiore Jazz Festival takes place between July and August in the towns of Arona and Cannobio

During tha above mentionned festival great artists play outdoors afro-american, blues, gospel and ethnic music. Taking part to this event not only offers you the possibility to hear high-level music but also to see and visit Isola Bella, Arona, Baveno, Stresa’s Lido and Verbania’s lakeside, enchanting places whose natural and artistic beauties have always inspired poets and artists at any time. Cinema lovers will not miss the Locarno International Film Festival with its Pardo d’Oro Award. The festival takes place during the first weeks of August. Films are projected daytime in the 8 cinemas of the city while the evening projection is in Piazza Grande. 


Lake Maggiore, with its green valleys and its high mountains, can be seen as an open-air gymnasium. Many sport activities can be practiced during the year, both in summer and in winter.
Who is fond of water sports can go sailing, rowing, canoeing, kayaking, diving, wind and kitesurfing and wakeboarding.
In the northern side of the lake there are schools of Kite-Windsurfing in TronzanoCannobio and Germignaga Windsurfschool la Punta.
Lake Maggiore sailing tradition was born in 1858 and it still offers any level courses. In 1889 the first national rowing championship took place right in Lake Maggiore. For those who are fond of mountain activities there are several choises: trekking, horse-riding, free-climbing, ski and mountain-bike. If you love extreme sports paragliding will be an extraordinary experience in the amazing scenary of the lake. 


Many intellectuals and travellers found their source of inspiration during their stay in the lake. They consequently captured its beauties and wrote about that. Among Cherles Dickens, Herman Hesse, Ernest Hemingway, Piero Chiara and Antonio Fogazzaro we decide to propose you a note of Stendhal, an extraordinary voyager who in 1811 stayed on Lake Maggiore and perfecly resumed its beauties:

From the terrace there is such a delightful sight, competing with the one in the Gulf of Naples and even more emotioning. And finally my soul, deeply troubled for such a too much beauty, has found something in which there is absolutely nothing to blame.